The Financial Literacy and Education Initiatives of the Arab Region

This image has a pie chart in the back with an arrow going up. The image is meant to highlight the different ways nations in the Arab world have increased financial literacy incentives.

A report conducted in 2016 by the Arab Monetary Fund and German Cooperation looked at past campaigns and initiatives that aimed to promote financial inclusion and financial literacy in the region. Although the focus of the report was on Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, and Yemen, the GCC countries were also highlighted.

Furthermore, the report looks at how national strategies and incentives helped to improve regulatory frameworks that underpinned inclusive finance and financial education. We will highlight a few initiatives in which Saudi Arabia took part over the years.

Global Money Week
  • This initiative began in 2013 and continues yearly. Countries still participate in this global campaign to increase and better financial literacy in schools.
  • Saudi Arabia has continued to participate in Global Money Week since 2015.
  • Global Money Week will occur this month from March 20-26, 2023!
  • This year, Global Money Week is trying to raise awareness of the implication of individual financial behavior on not only one’s own future but also the environment and society as a whole.
Visa: MyMoneySkills (renamed as Practical Money Skills)
  • In addition, Visa provided workbooks to aid schools and teachers in providing lessons to students that help them better understand and develop their financial literacy.
  • The financial literacy website is available in Arabic and English.
  • Reached over 5,000 teachers across the Gulf alone.
Injaz Al-Arab
  • A non-profit organization established in 1999.
  • Help students gain insight into the complexities and rewards of entrepreneurship and business in today’s markets.
  • Has programs in 13 nations across the Middle East.
  • Helps students gain the complexities and rewards of entrepreneurship and business in today’s interconnected markets.
  • The focus is on the youth.
    • Provides them with hands-on learning, education, and training in workforce readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship across the Arab World.
MasterCard Worldwide Index of Financial Literacy
  • This survey took place in 2012.
  • Saudi Arabia was included in the list of countries that participated.
  • Consumers in the Middle East scored highest in terms of knowledge about:
    • Financial planning (64%)
    • Basic money management (62%)
    • Investments (54%)
  • Overall financial literacy index score top scorers:
    • Egypt (69 index points)
    • Saudi Arabia (62 index points)
    • The UAE (61 index points)
    • Lebanon (61 index points)
  • The survey showed leaders in basic money management skills:
    • Egypt took the lead (75%)
    • Saudi Arabia (65%)
    • Lebanon (61%)
MENA MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) Technical Assistance Facility
  • Firstly, it is a joint program of the World Bank and IFC.
    • With this in mind, the program aims to improve the business environment by developing and enabling environment for:
      • MSMEs.
      • Supporting policy and legal reforms.
      • Providing capacity-building for regulators and government agencies.
      • Lastly, building financial infrastructure for the benefit of MSMEs.
  • Banks in Saudi had provided technical assistance to NGOs and banks in Islamic matters.
  • Training for Islamic finance and financial literacy.
  • Training seminars held to raise awareness about financial literacy and Islamic finance.
    • The range of business development services was broadened.
    • Links with investors were fostered.
    • Access to new markets and technologies was opened up.
    • Incubator operations were scaled up to reach a larger number of entrepreneurs.
  • Moreover, workshops for female entrepreneurs in underserved governorates taught project planning, demonstrate feasibility studies and foster entrepreneurial skills.
  • Toolkits and manuals promoting financial literacy among women, especially in areas of high illiteracy were launched.

In conclusion, the Arab World is working hard to ensure that its citizens both old and young are well-equipped and educated to plan for their financial goals and future.

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